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What to charge?

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  • What to charge?

    I'm working with a green bean for a good friend of mine who recently got diagnosed with Chrone's. She bought the mare thinking that she would be a good project, then discovered that it was a little more complicated than she wanted. Typical green horse + green rider scenario.

    She asked me to get the mare going for her, while she was getting her health stuff in order, and I'm just wondering what to charge her. She's looking for a new place to board, and while it would benefit me if she moved the mare in where I keep my horse, I know that it would be more cost to her. I was thinking about offering her half what I would charge if she moves the mare to be where I'm at to help lessen the cost. Incentive, if you will.

    Do you normally charge by the ride, with x amount of rides per week? Or is it x amount per month with x amount of rides guaranteed?

    I'm doing this mostly as a favor, but I can't afford to do it for free. Time or money-wise. I was thinking $30/ride at her current barn or $15/ride at mine.

  • #2
    I think $15 is a little on the low side, (maybe $20) especially for a greeny. But I get that you are trying to accommodate your friend.

    I'm sure other peeps will chime in for pricing, but please, please make sure you have some type of health or liability insurance for yourself if you do decide to take her horse on.

    And jingles for your gf, Chrones and IBS is no walk in the park.


    • #3
      Well, I train as a parttime job so in order to keep everything fair, I charge $30/ride or lesson. I am friends with from half to all my clients, depending on how many clients I have. I do this because I get my clients by word of mouth and cannot give a discount to one person and not the other. I teach beginner lessons to adults and start horses for people.

      When I was in college, I charged $20/ride.

      I do not charge my trainer anything - but that is a working student relationship. I get free lessons at least once a week, if not more and deals on trailering places - depending on what I am doing. I also get a discount on keeping my filly there - she is there for cost right now. Also, while I may be taking a horse over her first jump for my trainer, she is right there giving me pointers so even 'training' rides are really lessons.

      So, if you do any professional training/teaching, you really should charge the same to her as other people. If you are doing a favor to a friend, you can decide what you want to charge her - the price of gas to her place may be enough for you. You can also 'barter' like I do with my trainer - is she a good cook? Can she help you with homework/tutoring/computer work? I think housework may be out of the question for the time being - from what I understand of Crohn's disease - but you can also plan to have her help you with gardening in the summer, etc.


      • Original Poster

        Originally posted by Miss J View Post
        I think $15 is a little on the low side, (maybe $20) especially for a greeny. But I get that you are trying to accommodate your friend.

        I'm sure other peeps will chime in for pricing, but please, please make sure you have some type of health or liability insurance for yourself if you do decide to take her horse on.

        And jingles for your gf, Chrones and IBS is no walk in the park.
        I have very good insurance.

        I thought that it seemed a bit low, but I am out to ride my mare 4-5 times a week, and working her horse wouldn't take much more time. She would be doubling her current board payment by moving. I ride after DD goes to bed. If I had to drive to the mare, I would have to find childcare as well as the gas increase. The barn that she is at now is in the opposite direction of... well, everything.

        We will be leaving in March, so I wanted to get her mare to the point where she can take lessons from a trainer without feeling too overwhelmed. I was hoping to come in under the current average cost of training in this area (Northern VT).

        I was thinking about bartering services (she's a dog groomer), but I'm not sure how she could help. She works pretty hard as it is. It seems more cut and dry for me to charge her per ride.


        • #5
          Do be aware that charging anything means you will no longer be considered an amateur if you show. Also you should have professional liability insurance, and if you choose not to and something happens to the horse, remember that friends do sue friends.

          In general trainers who price training rides on a per ride basis charge the same as what they charge for a lesson.


          • #6
            It sounds like you're doing this more as a favor than a money making thing and just want to cover your costs.

            I suspect, based on your posts on this board, that you'd do it for free if it came down to it because you're that type.

            So I think if I were in your shoes, I'd ask her to move the horse to where you are and then see what she offers. If she offers you more than what you have in mind--the $15 or whatever--take it. Or take a little less.

            But she's sick, you're friends, and if she can at least make it more convenient for you, I think I'd be about willing to do it for nothing. Especially if you don't want to lose your ammy status. Maybe she could at least shoot you some gas cards. That might get you around the ammy thing.

            From a "training" standpoint, I would expect to pay at least 30-45 for an established trainer to spend 30-45 min with a horse.
            A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

            Might be a reason, never an excuse...


            • #7
              Assuming you are over 18, you'll lose amateur status with USEF if you charge. You can go through the reinstatement process, of course, but depending on your goals/timeline, that may be a factor.

              I'd pick a price per ride that you are happy with and charge that if the horse is at your barn, then charge that + cost for gas, babysitter, travel time for the other barn. Otherwise, you're going to lose money going out to the second barn and/or only cover expenses and be riding for free.

              You can always call up some local barns and see what they charge for ride, which will give you the local going rate.
              She Gets Lost


              • #8
                IF you are concerned about amateur status, and want to help your friend out... maybe this scenerio would work.

                You ask friend to get her horse ready for you, and as soon as you are done riding your horse, she cools her out while you ride yours. She can untack your horse while you put a 20 min school on her horse. That way you dont waste any time, but can do your friend a "favour". This is...assuming you care about amateur status and that your friend is healthy enough to make it to the barn (and just not ride).


                • #9
                  Great points from everyone, if you are leaving in march, will she be moving with you?


                  • Original Poster

                    Thank you,everybody for you great points!

                    I'm not worried about my ammy status, I lost that on accident a few years ago, by giving lessons. I have no huge competition goals, just taking time to enjoy my mare for once.

                    BuddyRoo- You're right. I was considering telling her that if she moved the mare to where I'm at, I would be willing to get her going for nothing. DH wants me to charge something, because he feels like it would be taking advantage of my time otherwise. I don't blame him and I do agree with him, which was why I was thinking a lower price should she move. If not I would just be looking to break even on childcare/gas costs with a teeny bit for my time. In that instance, I think that you have a good idea, Halt Near X as does Squish, however she's got doctors appointments on top of appointments. The vibe I got from her was she wants to be able to focus on her medical problems at the moment. Which I totally get.

                    I know what it's like to have life take over, and worry about your horse. I've never had Chrones or anything similar, but watching her go through it, it is not an easy thing to deal with. She can't just take a pill and be better, though I wish that she could! I think that she is nervous to get on the horse, and wants her to be a place that she can go to decompress. I don't think that I'm going to have her going perfectly by the time that we leave (she will not be coming with) but I do think that I can get her safe. The mare is sweet and very smart. Not dangerous in the least, just the usual green beaniness. The owner just wants to enjoy her out on the trails and do a little bit of (groan) Parelli stuff.

                    Thank you all, again, for the great advice!


                    • #11
                      Very kind of you to do this. I too would charge $10 or $15 -- just enough to cover your time and make your DH feel better about you riding this horse instead of coming home to spend time with him. But I think this is only going to work for you if the horse is at your barn -- otherwise you will need to charge at least the $30 to pay for childcare and gas, and that's only going to cover your costs.


                      • #12
                        Well, good luck. If her condition isn't well managed right now, it's probably not feasible for her to go to the barn unless it's a very quick drive and there are good toilet facilities there. I have had friends with this disease and they have really struggled just to make it to medical appts without having an accident. It's no fun, that's for sure. And being on a horse or out at the barn and having to go RIGHT NOW probably isn't a very easy situation to deal with.

                        I would hit her up for a (temporary?) move to your barn for sure. I don't think it's going to be very easy for you with the drive/childcare to hit two barns in one day. I did that for awhile and it sucked. I had horse A at one farm, horse B at the other and I felt like I spent as much time driving and dreading it all as I did enjoying my rides.

                        Good luck!
                        A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                        Might be a reason, never an excuse...


                        • #13
                          Here in my neck of the woods the established professionals who make their living riding horses charge from $35 on up, per ride.

                          The unestablished riders who are trying to get their business started charge a fairly consistent $15 per ride.

                          The non-professionals who are just helping out a friend don't charge anything, regardless of how good they are.

                          I have been using all three types these last couple of months as I recover from surgery. I pay the professionals (two different riders in my case, each at different points in their careers, to soften the cost of paying others to ride my horse). I also have a friend who lunges him for me a couple of days a week, or does other ground work with him. She is not a professional. Has never been one, nor does she ever plan on being one. I treat her to lunch weekly as a thank you.

                          I want to add to what others have said about insurance. Both professionals carry their own liability insurance as professionals, in case something were to go wrong during a session and my horse were injured. That liability insurance is very different from standard health insurance. Many barns won't allow you to ride as a paid professional without it. My friend who lunges my gelding signed a liability waiver, but it isn't that simple if you're getting paid.


                          • #14
                            I usually charged by the month and usually made sure the horse was ridden 5 times a week. It was a few years ago , horse was at my own place so, my costs and theirs didn't include boarding. If she is a friend and suffering the expense of health problems ( Chrone's is real bad) I personally would charge a lot less than in a normal circumstance. If the horse is eventually put up for sale maybe you can set it up to receive a portion of the sales price for a reduced fee now?